By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of US $61.64 million to foreign airlines operating in the country as part of the backlog of matured foreign exchange obligations owed to them.
This move is believed to be a giant step in boosting the value of the local currency, Naira stabilize the country’s forex market as well as boosting the confidence of investors.
According to The Nation report, this was disclosed in a statement by the Acting Director of CBN’s Corporate Communications Department, Hakama Sidi-Ali who equally described the development as a welcome relief to foreign airlines grappling with delayed forex access.
This latest disbursement forms part of the CBN’s broader commitment to settling all outstanding valid forward transactions, Mrs Sidi Ali emphasised.
According to Hakama Sidi-Ali, “These payments signify the CBN’s ongoing efforts to settle all remaining valid forward transactions, with the aim of alleviating the current pressure on the country’s exchange rate.
“It is anticipated that this initiative by the CBN should provide a considerable boost to the Naira against other major world currencies and further increase investor confidence in the Nigeria economy.”
Emirates airline had in September 2022 suspended flight into Nigeria due to the airline’s $85million earnings trapped with the Central Bank.
The airline said there was no considerable improvement and headway in repatriating its $85million trapped fund, after which it took the decision on suspension of its flights.
“Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1st September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible,” it said in a statement.